Honest Weight Co-Op Launches Double Up Food Bucks

Press Conference at Honest Weight Food Co-op for the launch of Double Up Food Bucks

Honest Weight Launches Double Up Food Bucks 

SNAP Incentive program increases healthy food access for low-income families, supports local farmers 

Honest Weight Food Co-op announces the launch of Double Up Food Bucks New York (Double Up), a program administered by Field & Fork Network,doubling the buying power of SNAP customers. Honest Weight Food Co-op is the first grocery store in the Capital region to offer the program which matches $1 for $1 federal SNAP dollars, up to $20 per day, to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on New York-grown produce. 

“Double Up benefits our customers and farmers, while helping grow healthier communities” says Alex Mytelka, head of marketing at Honest Weight. “Food insecurity is at an all-time high. We’re in the midst of a pandemic and we still have folks in the community we call home wondering where their next meal is coming from. Plain and simple, we need to do better. We need to show up for each other.” Mytelka continued, “As a community-owned food cooperative, we’re on a mission to break down this false narrative that fresh, healthy, colorful, locally grown food is only available to those who can afford it. Double Up is now one of the strongest tools in our collective community food access toolkit.” 

“We are thrilled to be able to continue to expand this program in the Capital Region at Honest Weight,” says Frances McGuire, Double Up Program Manager. “Double Up Food Bucks allows shoppers experiencing food insecurity to make their own healthy decisions when purchasing food for their families. We hope to see Double Up Food Bucks included in the 2022 New York State budget so that we can bring the program to even more locations in the area in the coming months.” 

The American Heart Association, a partner of Field & Fork Network, supports Double Up Food Bucks and is advocating for funding for the program at the state and local levels.  Being able to eat well is a key factor to improving heart and brain health, and we are seeing now more than ever how critical good health is,” said Michael Poindexter, senior vice president of SEFCU, Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church and member of the Capital Region Board of Directors of the American Heart Association. “We’ve been advocating for funding for Double Up Food Bucks at the local and state level so that more people can have access to even more healthy food. We’re proud to work with Field & Fork Network as they implement programs across the state, and are glad to see that the Honest Weight Food Co-Op is now accepting Double Up Food Bucks.

Since piloting at 7 Western New York farmers markets in 2014, Double Up has expanded into over 29 counties and 180 locations across the state, serving over 32,000 SNAP households. The program operates in farmers markets, mobile markets, farm stands, corner stores, and grocery outlets. 

Honest Weight Food Co-op is open to the public from 8am-9pm, seven days a week. Additional Double Up sites in the Capital Region include Capital Roots and Schenectady Green Market. For a complete list of participating Double Up sites and hours of operation, visit www.doubleupnys.com/locations. 



About Honest Weight Food Co-op 

Honest Weight Food Co-op is a member-owned and -operated consumer cooperative that is committed to providing the community with affordable, high quality natural foods and products for healthy living. The Co-op, established in 1976, is open to the public. Its mission is to promote more equitable, participatory and ecologically sustainable ways of living. Learn more online at www.honestweight.coop, and on Facebook and Instagram. 



Syracuse Co-op Launches Double Up Food Bucks

Double Up Food Bucks Launch at Syracuse Co-op

People and families who get Supplemental Nutrition assistance (SNAP) have the opportunity to stretch those dollars farther when buying fruit and vegetables, thanks to a new program. The Syracuse Coopertive Market is taking part in ‘Double Up Food Bucks’ to help those on limited incomes put healthier food on their tables. Market General Manger Jeremy DeChario says produce can prove too expensive for many people to risk their limited food budget on.

“People can take a chance on some lettuce or a potato or some squash rather than … getting the cheaper, processed, packaged calories.  This really lets people take the opportunity to spread their food dollars further into fresh and local produce.”

The way Double Up works is it doubles up to $20 a day of purchases made with SNAP dollars on fruits and vegetables. If lower income families take advantage and buy more produce, it can have far-reaching health benefits.

Maura Ackerman is with the Syracuse-Onondaga Food Systems Alliance. She says this can remove some of the barriers to eating healthier that create health habits.

“Greater exposure to fruits and vegetables means kids grow up to be adults who are really familiar with lots of different types of foods and choose to put those foods on their own plates.  The earlier we can expose kids to those options and those flavors, really goes to support long-term health benefits a any weight.” 

Program Manager Frances McGuire says the program is in other areas of the state already, serving around 35,000 SNAP recipients. She explains it also helps boost the local economy.

“It benefits SNAP shoppers who are getting that health food on their plates.  But it’s also benefitting farmers.  We work really carefully to select sites for the program that source produce locally, so that extra-incentive dollar is going directly back into the pockets of local farmers who we know can use a little extra money.” 

McGuire says funding for Double Up Food Bucks comes from a $2 million annual US Department of Agriculture and is matched with local dollars in each area. Here that match comes from the Allyn Foundation. The program is available through both Syracuse Cooperative Market locations and the Brady Market. They’d like to expand to more local stores and are hoping for more funding from the state and county to do so.

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Binghamton Grocery Store Works in Incentive for SNAP Beneficiaries in Former Food Desert

Greater Good Grocery Launches Double Up

Some Shoppers on Binghamton’s north side are getting some big help. A new program allows anyone using SNAP benefits at the Greater Good Grocery store will now get a dollar match for any piece of produce purchased.

Officials say they hope a program like this can go a long way in fighting hunger in what was a former food desert for the area.

Kinya Middleton has been with the Greater Good Grocery store since it opened in 2021 and can now call herself the general manager.

“I think every day when I come here, I’m excited to come here. It doesn’t really feel like a job. It’s amazing. It’s such a great feeling,” said Middleton, general manager at Great Good Grocery.

And for the 12,000 residents on Binghamton’s North side, the grocery store has been a long time coming, serving one of the poorest spots in the city.

“For 25 years, there hasn’t been a grocery store in this area, so people come and a lot of people in this area don’t have access to cars so it’s easy for them just to get here and back. Simple,” said Middleton.

With new items stocked nearly every day, Middleton is helping serve a community that went unserved for over two decades.

“Interacting with the customers is the greatest part of the day. It makes the time go by and you learn so much from different people, you just never know what you’re going to learn and it’s good to always expand your mind, and also help people,” said Middleton.

Another helpful piece of the puzzle comes thanks to the Double Up Program, allowing those using SNAP benefits to get a dollar match for every piece of produce they purchase.

That money can then be used to buy fruits and vegetables at a later date.

“That will definitely help right now, especially with prices going up with food. It definitely stretches anybody’s food budget,” said Middleton.

Middleton says she knows it’s just the beginning, with the grocery store having already served over 7,000 people in the its first few months. And while 45% of people who shop at Greater Good Grocery use SNAP benefits, Middleton says the store is open to anyone.

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